SILVER LININGS: Okanagan residents who have thrived in the pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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SILVER LININGS: Okanagan residents who have thrived in the pandemic

Bryce Rogers (left) was able to complete her GED during the pandemic and is able to spend more time with her family.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Bryce Rogers
November 23, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The pandemic has proven to be challenging for most and a serious struggle for many, but some Okanagan residents are viewing the pandemic as a blessing in disguise.

From spending more time with their families to growing their businesses and realigning with their most important values, these residents are sharing their silver linings.

Bryce Rogers

Rogers, from Vernon, said the pandemic allowed her family to spend more time together and enabled her to have the time to complete her GED.

Before the pandemic, her fiance worked two jobs and was never home.

“When COVID hit, he stopped working for the second job, was home way more, and we realized that after all's said and done, that second job wasn't really making a difference to our bank account. We have grown as a family and become closer as a result of that."

She said it also helped with school allowing her to finish quicker and being able to spend the time on each assignment for a high grade."

“We've learned to take time to spend together, doing activities, going for walks with our dogs.”

Her heart goes to the people that have been lost in the pandemic, but her family has been able to make the most of the time together that they took for granted.

What she’s learned is to cherish every moment.

Fiona Blacquier has established a positive working relationship with her daughter Sydney Forshaw during the pandemic.
Fiona Blacquier has established a positive working relationship with her daughter Sydney Forshaw during the pandemic.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Fiona Blacquier

Fiona Blacquier

The pandemic has allowed Blacquier and her daughter to form a stronger bond despite her photo studio Image Studios being temporarily shut down and her daughter getting laid off.

Blacquier said the layoff allowed her to hire her daughter, Sydney Forshaw, when the studio at Village Green Mall in Vernon when it reopened and they became much closer. She realized how amazing Forshaw was with children and editing in the studio.

“Because of this we have become incredibly close and like best friends. The pandemic was the push,” she said.

She said there was a huge amount of support from the community when they reopened.

“It just kind of opened a door for us to start going on the route and having her work from here,” Blacquier said. “She’s kind of looking for what she wants to do in life and it’s been really fun working with her.”

Blacquier also got married this past October.

Lake Country resident Beverly Bertolotti has been able to spend more time with her kids during the pandemic.
Lake Country resident Beverly Bertolotti has been able to spend more time with her kids during the pandemic.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Beverly Bertolotti

Beverly Bertolotti

Bertolotti, a longtime Lake Country resident, has been able to take time to connect with her children during the pandemic and is setting more time aside for herself.

Now she doesn’t always have to say "in a minute" or "maybe on the weekend, we can try" to to her children anymore. She’s also started raising chickens with them.
 
“We started watching a learn to paint online (program) and as a family made lots of really nice pictures, painted rocks and left them through the neighbourhood. My kids still talk about all the cool things we got to do,” she said.

She’s learned to set aside time each week for her kids and herself during the pandemic and will carry that new habit onward after it ends.

“I just sit and relax or work on my own hobbies for myself. On the weekends I save an hour each morning for myself to relax, drink my coffee and do what is important to me,” she said.

Leslie Brymac has taken time during the pandemic to grow her farm business and connect with the community.
Leslie Brymac has taken time during the pandemic to grow her farm business and connect with the community.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Leslie Brymac

Leslie Brymac

The small fruit farm owner has had a challenging last few years, but during COVID, she’s been working towards getting back her farm status.

The Lake Country resident and owner of organic farm Brymac Farms said this year was a renewal for her and her business.

“I started with the cherries and I would put them on our Lake Country (Facebook) page and I had such a wonderful response, mid-COVID,” she said.

“I want to get my farm status back,” she said, adding that she’s halfway to meeting the status requirements this year. "There was a really strong feeling of community (this year).”

Brymac hopes that sense of community continues after the pandemic.

Tamara Oram is pursuing a new marketing venture thanks to COVID-19.
Tamara Oram is pursuing a new marketing venture thanks to COVID-19.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Tamara Oram

Tamara Oram

Oram, from Lake Country, decided to pursue a new business venture when COVID-19 hit.

“It’s definitely been tough, I work a full-time regular job, we’re an essential service so we didn’t shut down… so we’ve been through the trenches that way. It forced me to see that I had to start doing something differently and provide for my family in a different way,” she said.

She began balancing her work in a grocery store in the membership department, with working for the beauty company Modere.

“It’s been giving me the opportunity to work from home. Slowly I’m hoping to tip the scales… and be able to stay home and have more time with my family,” she said. “I can’t say how amazing I feel which is great… I’m able to come home and have quality time with my family.”

Oram has also been taking leadership courses to help at work and at home “to show (everyone) if you put your mind to something, even if it’s way out of your comfort zone, it can work out.”

Biran “Bib” Patel has taken on a new role at work after being empowered by leadership courses he took during the pandemic.
Biran “Bib” Patel has taken on a new role at work after being empowered by leadership courses he took during the pandemic.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Bib Patel

Biran “Bib” Patel

Working from home made Patel, from Lake Country, miss the interactions he had at work so he took a leadership course that empowered him to pursue a new role.

"It was really a chain of events. My new role is special projects in our finance department. I think the biggest blessing from this has been the ability to take a few steps back, take a breath and look at the big picture,” he said.

The pandemic also helped Patel realize negative spending habits and he has been doing a much better job of saving, paying off debt and planning for retirement.

 

Do you have a positive pandemic story you would like to share? If so, comment below or send us an email to news@infonews.ca.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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